Thursday January 21st, 2010

Will you organize a write-for-Haiti in the same spirit as the fine practice session organized by the tennis pros? Can't see a good reason you wouldn't want to. --Thomas Richter, San Francisco, Calif.

• I can do that. How's this: If you include the word "Haiti" when you send in your question, I'll take it as an understanding that you will contribute $10 to disaster relief if you get an answer.

I must be missing something. Why does the draw include 32 seeded players, but John Isner has No. 33 by his name? --Tom Sawatzki, Walla Walla, Wash.

• From the Shark: Big John became the No. 33 seed because when No. 15 Gilles Simon withdrew, David Ferrer went into Simon's spot as the No. 17 seed and Isner, next to be seeded, became No. 33 in Ferrer's old spot. This is only done in a tournament before the order of play comes out.

I think your "dude, read the book" point glosses over what is in the book. The point one of your readers made regarding the "dullness" of Pete's life is taken, but I contend that isn't a fair representation of what Agassi said about Pete. The anecdote about Pete as a poor tipper is unverifiable and contributes nothing in the narrative. I was surprised it was not edited out. The accusation creates a mental image, true or false, of Pete that cannot be refuted. That is unjust and is low class. Pete doesn't need to read the book to get a sense of what Andre said about him because the context, in the example above, is only personal dislike/competition. --James, Ft. Worth, Texas

• "I hate James Cameron movies."

"Which have you seen?"

"None, actually. But I heard Titanic had more syrup and goo than a Denny's Grand Slam breakfast."

Again, Sampras is well within his rights to confront Agassi about some of the characterizations in "Open." But the minute he admits that he didn't read the thing and is only going on hearsay, he surrenders the high ground.

Jon, here's the thing about what's "implied" and what's not (vis-a-vis male/female). Your reader writes "How many women have exceeded Federer's record of 15 major titles?" Well, that is IMPLYING that the record is SINGLES titles, right? Why must we pretend we live in some vacuum where context has to be provided for us at all times. 99.99% of the time when a commentator mentions a streak or record, we can figure out the complete context without it being spelled out. --Jason, Seattle

• Agree. I don't want to chill the pursuit of bias, double-standards and general oversight. But I think is the vast majority of cases there's an assumption that we're only talking one gender of the other. Tim Wei of Austin did make a good point that in some case, such as Federer's 15 Slams, even the casual fan knows the context. But in cases such as Santoro's "four-decade achievement," the average fan might not know that women achieved this; so a qualifier is necessary. Fair enough. Then again, it might be moot, as it seems Santoro's record might not stand after all...

I can't hold back any longer. For the love of all that is holy and good, could we please correct the notion that Fabrice Santoro has played Slams in four decades? 2010 does not start a new decade. The next decade will start next year, in 2011. Year 1 to Year 10 comprised the first decade A.D. The current decade started in 2001 and will end this year. I'm certain Fabrice could come back and play Australia next year, but, until he does that, he won't have played Slams in four decades. And, yes, I'm one of those people who cringes when people mean "Netherlands" or "United Kingdom" and say "Holland" or "England." --Rob, Miami Beach

• You live in Miami Beach. Life is good. Chill. Cleansing breath. Namaste.

Thanks for the great article on trash talking and bringing up a blast from the past Earl Strom. In one of my favorite moments, Strom had heard enough from a particular Jazz fan and said, "You know, there are two types of fans that sit in the front row at NBA games ... those that know a lot about basketball and those that are rich. You must be rich." It was a classic! --Jim Vandiver, Salt Lake City

• Some might say the same applies for tennis.

Forget Martina Navratilova and Fabrice Santoro. Australian Nell Hopman first played in a slam at the 1930 Australian. Her last singes slam was -- wait for it -- at age 57 in the 1966 French. All up Mrs. Harry Hopman played 27 Australian titles, notwithstanding that the tourney wasn't held for five years due to WWII. --GT, Canberra

• And she didn't even unretire!

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